University of Arkansas signee Rotnei Clarke becomes the state of Oklahoma's all-time career scorer…
The Time Is Now
University of Arkansas signee Rotnei Clarke, averaging 41.5 points per game and with 3,606 points in his four-year career, needs just 34 points to become the all-time leading career scorer in Oklahoma high school history.
Clarke (6-1, 180) will take his shot at Ty Harman's mark of 3,639 when he leads No. 1 Verdigris (23-3) against No. 2 Adair (24-2) Friday night at 8 p.m. in the Class 3A Arena final at Skiatook's Dr. Gary Johnson Activity - which can seat up to 6,000.
"Rotnei has handled this things so unbelieveably," notes Conley Clarke, Rotnei's dad and an assistant coach at Oral Roberts University. "He really would like to get this behind it because it is all anyone talks about, but he would trade it easily for three more wins and a state title. That's what is most important to him and he feels like it is his fault they haven't won it yet."
Odds are the place will be packed in what will be the third straight time these two teams have played for the Area championship.
The winner gets a state tournament berth, the loser must win a third-place game on Saturday to get one.
"When he was sophomore, Rotnei had 45 and we won when Adair was number one and undefeated and we were number two and the place seated 3,200 and was soldout," Clarke noted. "They had to turn 1,000 people away.
"When he was a junior, we were number one and Adair No. 2 and Rotnei had 57 it was sold out as well.
"This year they have moved it to Skiatook to get in as many fans as possible," Clarke added. "It has 4,500 permanent seats and they can put another 1,500 on the floor."
That crowd, which can begin buying tickets as early at 1 p.m. at the Skiatook football field, will likely include plenty of Razorback fans. "We have had about a group of 30 to 40 Razorback fans who have been coming to our games and wearing Arkansas stuff," Clarke said. "They have been very supportive of him.
"It's like (UA head) Coach (John) Pelphrey said when he was over here last week – they can't wait to get him over there at Arkansas and he knows Rotnei will be so glad just to have one guy guarding him. We are really looking forward to him being over there, too."
Rotnei, who joins Pawnee star and Oklahoma State signee Keiton Page as players who could break the Ty Harman's mark this season, might not be the only Clarke competing at Skiatook Friday.
Csassie, his highly regarded junior sister that the Lady Razorbacks are interested in, will be playing at 1:30 on Friday.
"She has had a real good season," Clarke said. "She is averaging 23 points – which is third in the state – and around 10 rebounds. Arkansas is looking at her and she has made it clear that where she wants to end up just like Rotnei."
Not surprisingly, Cassie Clarke is also a big-time shooter.
"She can really shoot the ball and Arkansas tells us that it needs some shooters," Clarke said. "She needs to get stronger and get better going to her right, but if she gets open, it's going in."
Cassie Clarke had been fixated on a volleyball career in college, but has now switched to thinking basketball is for her.
"That's what she is saying now," Clarke said. "She had always been about volleyball – I think in part because she has always had to love in Rotnei's shadow when it came to basketball, but she is all about basketball now."
Clarke has raised his scoring average from 20 points as a ninth grader to 34.2 as a sophomore to 37.9 as a junior and now 41.5 in this his senior year.
"No one even thought anything about a scoring record until somebody started doing the projections and saying he could actually break it if he averaged a few more points his senior season," Clarke said. "It's unreal that's what has happened."
Rotnei has been inundated by autograph seekers and well wishers at his game.
"It really is something after a game and he has done his best to talk with everyone, but it is tough on him," Clarke said. "One of the things that I am proud is that this mother and three girls have driven 3 hours to see him play and he always goes over to greet them for supporting him. I think they are like 13, 11 and 10. That makes me as proud as anything."
Cassie and Rotnei Clarke
Rotnei and Conley Clarke
HawgsIllustrated.com Recommended Stories
College Week 13: 10 Saturday Takeaways
Breaking down all the battles that mattered this weekend.Read More
NFL Week 12: Every Game Previewed
It's a wild slate of games this Sunday with several matchups that involve playoff seeding implications and a few divisional showdowns.Read More
OU's Perine rushes into record books
Norman has seen a lot of special days, but few will compare to what Samaje Perine did Saturday in rushing for 427 yards and five touchdowns.Read More
Dr. Roto Video: Week 12 Key Matchups
Dr. Roto highlights each and every game upcoming for Week 12 and a Fantasy matchup to monitor within. Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon (pictured above) makes his return against the less-than-stellar…Read More
Apache Administers Death to Taliban (VIDEO)
The Apache helicopter is one of the most famed and efficient killing machines in the U.S Army. Get the skinny on this 'steel dragon' and watch what one does to a platoon of Taliban fighters in…Read More